Browsing: Public Safety

Earlier this week at NIST, we brought together a diverse group of people who will have a profound influence on the future of our cities and the services provided to their citizens. These 300 leaders from government, industry, and academia came to attend an event called the Global City Team Challenge (GCTC) Tech Jam. The GCTC program, launched in 2014 by NIST with a number of partners from the federal government and industry, is one way that NIST is supporting the Administration’s Smart City Initiative announced last September. Two of the questions I get most often when I mention this topic are: What is a “smart city”? And why is NIST involved? I’ll offer my perspective, and I encourage you…

Happy Pi Day! No, not pie day, Pi Day. That Greek character pi, π, that you’ve heard of but aren’t quite sure what the big deal is. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. As yawn-inducing as that may sound, it’s an important ratio because pi is the same no matter the size of the circle. This magical ratio, pi, is true for the circle describing the tire of an automobile or a circle going around the entire Earth. We can use pi to calculate a diameter. If the circumference of the Earth at the equator is 40,075 kilometers, which it is, then the diameter of the Earth is equal to the circumference divided by pi,…

Flu season typically peaks between December and February, but by the time the winter holidays roll around, many of us will have already waited in line at area clinics, grocery stores, and pharmacies to get our annual flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control reports that U.S. vaccination efforts since 1994 have prevented an estimated 16 million illnesses every year. Even so, some people choose to avoid vaccination, citing reasons like a lack of confidence in its usefulness, complication risks, or religious beliefs. Some news outlets thrive on the controversy, sensationalizing reports of disease outbreaks, possible vaccine failures, and anti-vaccination propaganda. Yet the public debates have missed a critical factor in vaccine effectiveness: temperature. That’s right. To work correctly, all…